The story was too good to be true: Boy meets girl on movie set. Boy and girl kiss on movie set. Almost ten years later, boy and girl get married, mirroring their picture perfect on-screen romance. A dream come true for both fandoms and publicists alike, this kind of Hollywood magic doesn't happen that often.
But it did for Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. The couple got married this December, Cyrus in Vivienne Westwood and Hemsworth in his swankiest suit. They met nine years earlier on the set of The Last Song, an adaptation of Nicolas Sparks novel. (Incidentally, this whole love story is vaguely Sparksian.) In honor of their wedding, let's revisit the one Nicolas Sparks movie to birth an actual marriage.
The year was 2009. Cyrus was three years into her reign as Hannah Montana. Hemsworth, meanwhile, was still unknown in the U.S. (Three years later, he would appear in The Hunger Games as Gale, cementing his status as a Hollywood A-lister.) Cyrus said in an interview with Collider that she was nervous to meet Hemsworth, even though she was more well-known at the time.
"[Director] Julie Ann [Robinson] was like, 'He works a lot in Australia. It’s going to be awesome. We’re going to break him out here.' So, I was like, 'Great, he’s going to be really good. This is my first film, but he’s worked before.' I was a little bit nervous with everything."
She added, "But then, he opened the door for me and I was like, 'That was good! He’s got the part!'"
Sparks wrote The Last Song the book specifically for Cyrus and the forthcoming movie, which meant this movie was specially formatted for Cyrus. Cyrus told Collider, "With Nicholas Sparks writing this, I said, 'I like animals. I like music. I like hot Australians.'...It worked out fine, and I owe Nicholas, big time."
The couple's first kiss they filmed for the movie apparently wasn't even scripted. "The first kiss was the first day of shooting," Hemsworth revealed in a behind-the-scenes featurette. The scene they were filming was just a montage, no kissing necessary. But while Hemsworth and Cyrus frolicked in the ocean, Robinson instructed them to kiss. "It was kinda good, because I hadn't had any time to think about or get nervous about, you know, the kiss," Hemsworth added.
The movie was pretty standard romance fare: Cyrus played Veronica, a.k.a. Ronnie, a piano prodigy who is sent to spend the summer with her dad (Greg Kinnear) in a beach town. There, Ronnie meets Will (Hemsworth), a local volleyball prodigy. After some resistance, Will weasels his way into Ronnie's heart, and, eventually, they go to college together in New York City — Ronnie to Julliard and Will to Columbia.
Hemsworth and Cyrus, like most romantic co-leads, looked like a viable couple to fans of the movie. They looked cozy at the premiere of the movie and were spotted taking couple-ish strolls around Los Angeles as early as January of 2010. Later that year, they were a certifiable A-list couple. They weren't the first Nicolas Sparks co-leads to do so: Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, stars of The Notebook, had also been in a serious relationship after the movie. But McAdams and Gosling broke up in 2007, while Hemsworth and Cyrus managed an on-again-off-again relationship for the better half of a decade. In 2017, a year before they would get married, Cyrus posted a photo from the movie, commemorating the first LiMiley kiss.
To many more unscripted kisses! Or scripted — Last Song 2, anybody?